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North West District Councilors have called for their inclusion alongside members of parliament in the Independence Electoral Commission (IEC)’s demarcation committee.
This follows after the Commission’s Secretary Jefferson Siamisang explained that councilors across districts are not going to take part in the exercise when addressing the Special Full Council on demarcation of polling districts and establishment of polling stations this week.
Siamisang noted that it was the norm and tradition of the commission that politicians do not form part of the exercise because of conflict of interest.
He indicated that those who will form part of the demarcation committee will be the office of the district commissioner (DC), council secretary, chairperson of the churches fraternal and youth which will be chaired by the DC or district officers, district chief elections officers, principal election officers on behalf of the Secretary of IEC who serve as co-secretaries and surveyors to the same committee.
Sedie Ward councilor Kaukapita Kaukapita has however argued that he does not understand why councilors and members of parliament cannot be part of the demarcation committee as he believes are best placed to advise because of the knowledge of the areas involved in the exercise.
He said they expect the demarcation process to reduce the work load of councillors who serve vast wards, hence they are the best people to bring about the right intervention during the exercise.
Kaukapita highlighted that the district need serious attention on demarcation, of wards and polling stations, arguing that Sehithwa was a stand-alone council ward but now it has added Kareng, Xorotshaa and surrounding catchment areas. He added that areas like Gumare and Shorobe have the same challenges which he argued has affected the efficiency of councillors.
Shorobe/Sankoyo councilor, Oabile Chombo also shared Kaukapita’s sentiments that failure to involve councilors in such an exercise end up affecting their work because they are the ones who know the problems on the ground.
He further argued that IEC should make sure that the people that are chosen for the exercise should be competent enough to deliver in the interest of the nation.
Boseja South councilor Itumeleng Kelebetseng also expressed his interest to be part of the committee arguing that as a representative of his ward, he knows the vastness of it as well as its needs hence being part of the exercise will be helpful.
However, Siamisang reiterated that councilors will not take part in the assignment of the demarcation and establishment process. He noted that his address was to request them to engage their constituents to equally familiarise themselves with the boundaries of their polling districts and stations so that they can make meaningful contribution to the exercise when it starts. He requested all interested parties to submit their evidence to the demarcation committees when called on do so during the exercise.
“The commission has found it necessary to address the new North West District Council (NWDC) to familiarize and sensitize them of the impending establishment of polling district and polling stations before the delimitation commission which will be out, probably before April and May 2023,” he said.
“The committees in performing their assignment will pay particular attention to population density, population quota, means of communication, geographic features, existing patterns of human settlements, constituency boundaries, existing boundaries and community interest,” he added.